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[458] disunion spirit was still more developed by the Dred Scott1 decision, delivered by the U. S. Supreme Court on March 6, through the mouth of Chief-Justice Taney.

Scott had been the slave of an army surgeon, who took2 him to a military station in Illinois for two years, and thence to Fort Snelling in Nebraska (now Minnesota), where he was married to the slave woman of another officer. The sojourn in Illinois (being voluntary on the master's part) would have freed him, as this State was embraced in the Northwest Ordinance. The Territory of Nebraska was in the tract covered by the Missouri Compromise, prohibiting slavery north of 36° 30′. Scott and his wife were sold to a common owner, and returned voluntarily—or at least without resistance—to Missouri, where the husband brought suit for their freedom. The State court denied the suit, in default of evidence that their owners meant to manumit them by taking them on to free soil. Appeal was then made to the Federal Supreme Court, a body of nine members, of whom five were3 slaveholders.

‘The article in the Westminster [for July, 1857, by Harriet4 Martineau, on the ‘Manifest Destiny of the American Union’],’ wrote Mrs. M. W. Chapman to Mr. Garrison,

was,5 I find by comparison of dates, written at a time when no two papers in the United States agreed as to what the Dred Scott decision did mean—all the A. S. papers agreeing that if it meant anything, it meant the extension of slavery throughout the States. . . . I should really like to read the decision, with all the different ideas as to what it means—if I had a month's leisure. I must confess to not having yet done so, whatever the Westminster Review may have done. One thing seems clear—they made it, like the Constitution of the United States, of india-rubber: to read one way in one State, a second way in another, and a third out of the United States, and are frightened when its intentions are exposed.

Scott's suit was dismissed for want of jurisdiction, the power of the State court in the premises being upheld; but the incidental doctrines enunciated were of the most alarming character. First, the Constitution recognizes no

1 Lib. 27.43, 45, 46, 118.

2 Lib. 26.207; 27.45; 28.49.

3 Lib. 27.62.

4 Lib. 27.173, 177, 181.

5 Ms. Oct. 24 (?), 1857.

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